Yan Pei-Ming - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Art & Public, Geneva; Galerie Koch, Hanover; Private collection, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Yan Peiming was born in Shanghai in 1960, and has resided in France since 1980. In Yan’s signature portraits, a subject’s massive head struggles to life from a sea of impasto, and bares its teeth. The portraits are typically either black and white or red and white; their entire lifeforce contained within the infinite spectrum of these two primal hues. Discerning the heart of Yan’s portraits is a process akin to appreciating music: one fully comprehends the work by listening to the strokes on canvas, noticing the lyrical variations of the binary colors, accepting the temporal nature of the visage.

    Yan’s subjects lie at two ends of the power hierarchy: there is Mao, over and over again, each individual portrait a different catharsis. There are also other figures of authority: Bruce Lee, the Buddha, and the artist’s father. At the spectrum’s other end, Yan compulsively paints subjects such as that of the present lot: the “invisible man,” the nameless, anonymous victim who breathes life only through the primal gestures of pigment. “In the end all his paintings are also self-portraits, which document the artist’s inner moods and feelings. In this sense they are very Chinese, because they represent not the visible reality, but the struggle—obsessive, existential, repeatedly starting from scratch—between a vision and its changing, subjective realization in painting.” (B. Fibicher, Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, Ostfildern, 2004, p. 160).


Victim # 7

Oil on canvas.
15 3/4 x 19 3/4 in. (40 x 50.2 cm).
Signed, titled and dated "Victim #7 2001 Yan Pei-Ming [in Chinese and English]" on the reverse.

£15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for £69,600

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm